Special Needs Planning
You have children dear to you and close to your heart and you will always care and worry about them. What will their future be like? Will they be able to meet their financial needs? Will they be able to afford and have access to any and all health care that they might need?
Most children, when they become adults, are expected to assume responsibility for themselves. But, what about those who can’t provide for themselves because of a physical, mental or emotional illness or disability, and have, and will continue to have, a life long dependency on you for their care and support?
That child could be a victim of an accident who now depends continuously on you for meals, transportation and personal care; a child born with a severe medical condition who, without you, could not get through the day; or a child with some other debilitating condition or illness. They have “special needs” beyond the usual love and care that you might typically provide.
The enormity of the same questions asked above is amplified when you follow each question with the words — “if I should die or become disabled?” How do you address meeting those needs? How do you plan for a special needs child? As you think about responses to these questions, a million additional questions probably race through your mind, along with a mental checklist of things to be concerned about.
The following are a few of the many concerns when you have a special needs child:
Physical and Emotional Care of the Child: Guardianship Issues
- Who should assume my role as the primary caregiver after my death or disability?
- Could it be my other children or another family member?
- Would the designated guardian of my child also control the assets and property left to, or for the benefit of, that child?
Financial Considerations: Government Programs
- Are government programs being used to assist in the care of my child?
- Will government programs be used to assist in the care of my child after my death?
- If government programs are used, will my child continue to meet the “means” tests (i.e., eligibility based upon income and net worth) used to qualify for these programs?
- Is the level of care provided under government programs sufficient for the financial and physical well-being of my child?
Other Family Issues
- Are there other children in the family? Are they minors?
- What level of support will they need?
- Are there any special concerns to address with the other children?
- How do I avoid the possible perception of preferential treatment towards a child?
Estate Tax Issues
- What is the expected size of my gross estate?
- What impact, if any, will potential estate taxes have on my estate and what I leave to my children?
- Is there sufficient liquidity to meet this estate tax liability and still meet the needs of my family?
- How important will it be to qualify for public assistance for the benefit of my child?
- Will what is known as a “special needs trust” be appropriate for the current situation?
- Have the needs of the rest of the family been accounted for in the planning process?
- Am I treating everyone fairly?
At National Planning Corporation, we understand your concerns and your questions and can help you to create a plan that helps solve these issues and meets the financial needs of the child with special needs, allowing him or her to maintain a high quality of life in your absence. The plan will also ensure that the needs of the rest of your family are met.